Dear members, dear applicants dear partners, alumni and friends of SAGE Net,
After many discussions, calculations, considerations and talks in the board, with our staff, and with the members in the context of an extraordinary general meeting last Monday, we have now decided not to send any volunteers this year – for the year 2023/24 – neither from Germany to South Africa (North-South), nor from South Africa to Germany (South-North). This has a big impact on us as an association, and on many of you.
Positioning of the Board from Germany
In addition to the questionable financial basis, we are partly at the end of our rope in terms of personnel – both staff and volunteers. The high workload of the SAGE Net team in times of crisis and stress is hardly justifiable for us as a board. As a board and team, we have been very busy in the past years with financing, which today leaves us with no strength left to make a new start.
The attempt to build up new pillars besides the weltwärts program, which made SAGE Net strong in the past, has unfortunately hardly succeeded. We have been able to push some ideas far, but so far we have only been successful in applying for funding for a seminar on feminist development policy, which will take place in Berlin from May 5-7: Cordial invitation!
Since we have been doing weltwärts, we have had to concentrate all our human and volunteer resources on this program, which has gradually worn down SAGE Net’s other projects and ideas. Especially after two years of Corona and currently a situation where South Africa does not issue visas for volunteers, as well as decreasing application numbers, we as a board have also increasingly asked ourselves if it is worth our free time to enable young, rather privileged people to spend a year abroad, if at the same time we have to add to it financially as well.
We continue to believe in the meaning of the exchange between South Africa and Germany, and know partly from our own experience how valuable a voluntary service and a year in another country can be for one’s own life, but also for society. We are proud of what we have been able to realize and achieve with you over the past 20 years and how many lives we have been able to change. We thank you and all of you for this great work together!
To pause Weltwärts has immediate consequences for the association. In the next days and weeks we will discuss how long and under which conditions we can continue to employ our staff. A temporary solution until the end of the year is being considered. Our activities will have to decrease for the time being.
However, we want to use the coming months to think through and discuss both a further implementation of the weltwärts program from 2024 and further activities. What the current pause means for the future of SAGE Net as a whole, we can not yet say.
We would be happy to hear from anyone who would like to join us on Sunday, May 7, after our seminar on feminist development policy. Feel free to join us!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Your SAGE Net Board from Germany
Donald Vogel, Marie Rüdiger, Claus-Bernhard Pakleppa, Rhea Schönherr, Steven Lambeck und Jacob Birkenhäger